Mandola, Mandolin, Bouzouki

Mandola Tuning Mandolin Tuning

As you can see these pairs of strings are tuned to the same notes.

Note: The Mandola is tuned like the Viola with a little longer neck scale than the Mandolin.
The Mandolin is tuned like the Violin.

Bouzouki Tuning

Some Notes

Most musicians use either GDAD or ADAD(low to high). Both tunings make it quite easy to play in the key of D; the first also allows for some easy chords in G, the second works better for A, but will give you a less full sound when playing in G.

A mandolin-like tuning, GDAE, but one octave lower, is also used, but requires long stretches for some chords, so it is most useful for either a short-scale instrument or a player with big hands. Most of these short-scale bouzoukis, especially if they use this mandolin-like tuning, are said to be octave-mandolas.

Most well-known bouzouki players use the GDAD tuning.

Tuning:  There are many methods for tuning Irish bouzoukis, depending on what the player is intending to do with it. I shall extend the range of string choices, as I try them out, but it really depends how you tune it, so you may be involved in buying individual strings.

*GDad is ideal for tunes in the key of G (E, B and C with capo) Typically the tuning used by Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, the disadvantage is fingering changes from the mandolin on the top string.

*GDAE like mandolin, but long stretch for some chords if you are going to use it as a rhythm accompaniment. I play one tuned like this, with octave pairs, for tunes and simple chords.

ADad is good for tunes in D and A (E, F and F#  with capo) Again, you need to learn a whole new set of fingerings if you are a mandolin/violin player.

GDgd open tuning, simpler fingering for chords.

FCgd F tuning, used with capo 2 as octave mandola ADad


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